Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight reduces your pet’s risk of disease and injury, and contributes to a better quality of life and a longer life expectancy for your pet.
Keeping your pet at a healthy weight not only lowers his/her risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer but it can also reduce the risks of injury to bones, joints and muscles that are associated with excess weight. If your pet has arthritis, keeping him/her at a healthy weight makes it easier to manage the discomfort associated with joint pain. Because excess weight can reduce your pet’s life expectancy by more than two years, keeping your pet trim gives them the best chance of a longer, healthier, and pain-free life.
Studies have suggested that approximately one-quarter of overweight pets develop serious joint complications. The bones, joints, muscles, and associated tendons and ligaments all work together to give the pet smooth and efficient movement. If they are required to carry excess weight, they can start to become damaged. Arthritis can develop and the pain and joint changes associated with hip dysplasia can become markedly more severe.
Extra stress on joints caused by an increased weight load can also lead to damage of certain ligaments. Ligaments are tough, fibrous strands of tissue that hold one bone in proximity to another bone in joints. One of the ligaments in the knee, the cranial cruciate ligament, is very prone to strains or tears. If this ligament is torn, the knee becomes very unstable and the dog is reluctant to use it. Surgery must be done to repair this torn ligament.
If your pet is looking a bit chubby, start by making an appointment with one of our veterinarians to rule out metabolic problems like hypothyroidism, diabetes or Cushing’s Disease, then we can advise you on a safe and effective weight loss plan for your pet.